For New Competence, a book-in-development, I am describing how formerly functional competencies have been replaced by new competencies. If you have any feedback and are willing to allow me to include your response in the book (with attribution), please leave a comment below the post.

Early in my career, at that first job after college, the boss, Mallory Factor, approached to ask, "Why do you change out of a long tie and into a bow tie at the end of each day?"

"I don't have time to go back to my apartment and change out of my suit, so I do this to draw a line between my workday and my evenings out with friends."

"Why's that?" he asked. "Why do you separate your worklife from your evenings out?"

"Are you kidding me? This is work. My evenings are play. I love my friends and our dinners out. Work is work. Play is play. So my tie helps me tell where I am."

Mallory laughed. And then he said, "You are living two lives. You see clients and work — and me — as one life. And your friends and evening fun as a second life. But it is a milestone of maturation to merge one's various lives into one integrated life. Your clients become your friends. Your friends become your clients. When that happens, you will find that you are living one life. And it is better than two separate lives." 

"Not a chance," I said. "That sounds sad and soulless." I couldn't conceive of such a concession.

"Mark my words."

Mallory was right.

If you don't like your clients, you are in the wrong work. If you do not want your friends to be your clients, you are in the wrong work. If your friends don't want to work with you, do you have the wrong friends?

Old competence: separate the whimsy and indiscretions of youth far from the mercenary seriousness of the workday.

New competence: live one life, working with people you like, playing with people who work with you.